A former animal research technician pleaded guilty Thursday to killing a Yale University graduate student days before her 2009 wedding, and prosecutors revealed that he left behind evidence of a sexual assault and desperately tried to cover his tracks.
Raymond Clark III pleaded guilty to murder and entered an Alford plea to attempted sexual assault of Annie Le, 24, under an agreement with prosecutors that calls for a 44-year sentence. Under Connecticut's Alford doctrine, the defendant agrees that the state has enough evidence to likely get a conviction and a guilty finding is entered on the record.
The sex charge and related DNA evidence offered the first official revelation of a potential motive in the case. "We believed all along that was the motivation," said Joe Tacopina, attorney for the victim's parents.
Clark, 26, was accused of strangling Le, of Placerville, Calif. Her body was found upside down stuffed behind a research lab wall on Sept. 13, 2009, five days after she was last seen inside the Yale medical building. It would have been her wedding day in New York.
Prosecutor David Strollo said there was evidence that Clark tried after the killing to generate an alibi, scrub the crime scene and even fish evidence out from behind the wall.
Investigators found two notes in Clark's sock after he was arrested in which he had reached out to co-workers to provide an alibi for him, Strollo said. Sentencing was scheduled for May 20.